Yesterday was my birthday. My very sweet SO made a dinner reservation about a week ago at Harlem (Richmond and Church Streets). When we arrived, the small dining room was packed, dominated by a party of 12 near the door.
We were shown to a table at the back -- opposite the bar and perilously close to the kitchen. The table was in a narrow hallway and near a side door. We sat down, but there was a noticeable draft from the door (it was -25 c last night). The wait staff brushed up against us everytime they picked up an order. We ordered drinks and endured for about 15 minutes and then calmly told the bartender that we wanted to pay for our drinks because we were leaving. I said that I understood that the restaurant was busy, but that it was unfair and bad business to sacrifice a party of 2 for a party of 12. I added that I felt my birthday dinner had been ruined.
She asked us to wait saying she wanted to speak to Jervis ( Executive Chef) and then dissapeared into the kitchen. She came back with Jervis who asked me if I was the birthday girl. I said yes, and he told me not to worry that he was going to move us to a table upstairs and take care of our bill.
We ended up sitting on the stage on the second floor (also packed) under the glow of a spinning disco ball. My SO had Jambalaya which he loved. I had the bourbon rib appetizer and we shared sides of corn bread, greens and rice and beans. Everything was delicious and quite spicy.
Kudos to Jervis-- his quick thinking saved my birthday dinner. If we'd left the restaurant after having drinks, we would have never returned. We'll definitely be back.